Silicon Valley Employment Law Blog

Wrongful termination lawsuit leads to $640K settlement

A previous assistant county manager in another state was terminated back in 2011 when a gift-related controversy erupted. However, he sued the county and recently settled his lawsuit for $640,000. Anyone in California who has suffered wrongful termination likewise may have recourse through the civil court system.

In the recent out-of-state case, the former assistant manager served as the top engineer in the county and oversaw agencies related to public works. However, the man was reportedly terminated after refusing to vacate his post amid a fight over his use of the county's money to cover dues for his membership in a fraternity. The man allegedly provided a $5,000 reimbursement to the county for his dues.

EEOC files suit against airline services over employment dispute

In 1964, the federal government passed a law that requires employers to allow workers to retain firmly held religious practices as long as doing so does not create an undue burden on the employer. In light of that law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission works to ensure that employees are not subjected to retaliation whenever they seek to invoke that right. California residents who believe that their rights have been violated may seek assistance to settle an employment dispute relating to the violation.

Recently, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against a company that provides airline support services. The company, Aviation Port Services, which is based in Washington, purportedly terminated six Muslim women who had requested the right to continue dressing as their religious beliefs dictates. The employees were garbed in traditional long-length skirts at that time. The company allegedly informed the women in 2016 that they would be required to wear either company provided slacks or knee-length skirts.

Employees win in separate payment dispute cases

Those who work for minimum wage rely on every dollar to make ends meet. Therefore, when an employer refuses to issue rightfully earned pay, the employees affected may find themselves involved in a payment dispute case. California residents who believe they have not been justly compensated for hours worked can seek assistance in finding a remedy.

Recently, several hundred workers in one state won their cases against two separate chain restaurants located in their state. The first involved slightly more than 1,000 workers who were awarded back pay for wages they were denied over a two and a half year period. The chain, which is described as a grill house and sports bar, was ordered to make restitution in the amount of $750,000 in both back wages and damages that employees sustained when unauthorized deductions were made from their paychecks. Those deductions caused them to earn less than the minimum wage. In some cases, employees also worked in excess of 60 hours a week for which they were denied overtime pay.

Former Assembly chief of staff files wrongful termination suit

Working for public officials carries a significant amount of responsibility and pressure, as the public is quick to respond whenever there are allegations of impropriety. There are times when an employee may point out behavior that he or she finds disconcerting and, as a result, he or she may find that they no longer have a position in what may be considered retaliation. Recently, one man filed a wrongful termination suit against the California Assembly and the legislator whom he served.

The former chief of staff for Assemblyman Devin Mathis has claimed that his termination may have been in response to a complaint he filed with the human resources department concerning the assemblyman. He states that he reported that the lawmaker had engaged in sexual misconduct. He also reported that he suspected that the assemblyman had practiced discrimination and that he had misused state funds.

Court rules in favor of workers in pension employment dispute

Those who work for the public sector often do so based on the benefits that typically come with the position. Unfortunately, due to cost-saving efforts, many cities and towns have looked for ways to ensure that pensions and other retirement accounts can be funded through measures that reduce benefits. There have been many California workers over the years who have been caught up in an employment dispute related to reductions in these types of benefits.

Recently, a circuit court judge ruled that changes that one city made to its pension laws were unconstitutional. This decision was based on both the state's constitution regarding pensions benefits as well as a previous state Supreme Court decision that denied any changes in state laws that would reduce such benefits. This decision was issued regarding a lawsuit that was filed over a 2014 law that revised certain provisions for retirement benefits for park employees.

Former Lowe's employee files wrongful termination claim

Understandably, losing a job can have significant financial implications. When a job is lost as a result of discrimination, the experience can also be emotionally and psychologically traumatic. Discrimination in any form is wrong, but even in today's world, it still exists. In California and other states, laws are in place to protect workers from harassment and discrimination in the workplace. When an employee loses his or her job to discriminatory acts, a wrongful termination claim may be filed.

A woman in another state who alleges her firing was an act of discrimination has filed a lawsuit. The woman was a former employee of Lowe's and had worked there for almost a decade. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was diagnosed with lung cancer and used her FMLA leave. Allegedly, when she was ready to return to work, she was terminated instead of being placed in a new position.

Judge allows Walmart employment discrimination suit to proceed

One of the most recognized names in retail is the mega-giant Walmart. In one state alone, it employs an estimated 50,000 employees, and, as such, it was recently described as being "at home" in that state, which then opens the door for an employment discrimination case to proceed in federal court. The outcome of this case could have an impact on workers in California and elsewhere.

A U.S. District judge recently denied the retailer's motion to dismiss a case that has been brought by two women who have alleged that the company discriminated against them due to their pregnancies. The retailer filed for dismissal on the basis that the case was not filed in the appropriate district. A judge declined that motion and stated that the size of the company in that state met the qualifications for the case to proceed.

Honored firefighter files wrongful termination suit against city

Those who provide emergency services often do so under intense situations and place their own lives in danger. In spite of these sacrifices, these first responders are often city employees and are required to follow the regulations that govern how these workers operate. There may be conflict at times, and any California worker who believes that he or she may be a victim of a wrongful termination is entitled to seek justice.

Recently, one firefighter, recognized for outstanding performance of his duties during the attack at the Pulse nightclub in 2017, was fired for supposedly breaching patient confidentiality. The man claims that his firing was in retaliation against his efforts to file for workers' compensation benefits for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The first responder has also been openly critical of the department's response during the massacre.

24 Hour Fitness battling several employment related lawsuits

Americans are often fanatical about getting healthy and working out. As a result, there are a plethora of options for obtaining a gym membership and staying fit. Unfortunately, the fancy gym equipment often conceals the misery of the employees who are often required to work under less than optimal conditions. One of the most popular gyms in California, 24 Hour Fitness, is also the most frequent defendant in employment related disputes.

Currently, the company, which is headquartered in California, could be the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court case over the issue of its requirement that employees are forced to agree to arbitration and surrender their rights to settle employment disputes in court. The National Labor Relations Board filed the suit against the company over its controversial policy that prevents employees from joining a class action suit against the company whenever its policies seem to violate labor laws. The company recently agreed to settle with employees who claimed that it violated the wage and hour laws by requiring workers to put in 12-hour shifts with scant time for lunch breaks.

Proposed legislation stirs employment dispute over pensions

One of the most popular incentives for those who seek positions in the public sector is the possibility of securing a reliable pension plan. Unfortunately, many states and companies are having difficulty meeting the demands that these retirement benefits place on stressed budgets. There have been many employment disputes concerning cuts to retirement plans involving California workers over recent years.

Recently, one state's lawmakers proposed a bill that would ease some of the strain that its pension system is currently experiencing. However, due to proposed reductions in the cost of living adjustments and a few other changes, teachers and other public workers are protesting the potential cuts in their benefits. The system is projected to only be funded at an estimated 55 percent, and the cuts would be in place until it reaches a 90 percent funding level.

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